A star of the House’s repository, the iconic DVF wrap dress has inspired sartorial choices since its debut appearance in 1974. Thenceforth, the dress has evolved remarkably. Pioneering and progressive, it is charged with a magnetism that liberates and empowers women.
Of all iconic dresses ever designed, it’s hard to think of one that is so perennially relevant as the DVF wrap dress. Since its introduction, Diane von Furstenberg’s versatile and feminine wrap dress has been a constant favorite of fashionable women around the world. The House sold over a million wrap dresses just within a few years of its release. Today, the dress has its own place in the collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in Items: Is Fashion Modern? show at the Museum of Modern Art.
How It All Started
Before moving to New York, Diane von Furstenberg worked for Albert Koski as an assistant in Paris and for Angelo Ferretti in Italy. It was in Ferretti’s textile mill where von Furstenberg first started designing. In New York, she quickly became a part of the city’s social and fashion circuit thanks to her aristocratic status (married to Prince Egon von Fürstenberg). She got acquainted with Vogue editor Diana Vreeland who, impressed by her designs, propelled her into presenting them on a runway. Subsequently, the nascent designer showcased her very first collection in 1970 at the Gotham Hotel in New York City. Just two years after the launch of her eponymous label, von Furstenberg forever coined her name in the history of fashion with the introduction of the timeless wrap dress.
DVF Wrap Dress: A Fashion Proclamation
There lies an interesting story behind the iconic silhouette of the DVF wrap dress. von Furstenberg initially designed a wrap top similar to the ones ballerinas wear along with a matching skirt. The ensemble received amazing reactions and sold quite well. This gave the Belgian designer an idea to morph the two pieces and create a dress that wraps around the chest.
Topped with a collar and cuffs exuding a tailored finish, the prototype of the dress was cut from flattering jersey fabric. The silhouette was signed off with a wrap-around bodice to be secured by a tie fastening that cinches the waist. The functional attribute of the dress was enhanced by colors and patterns that were sprinkled all over. Comfort and freedom dictated the design.
“It’s for a woman who is the woman she wants to be”- Diane von Furstenberg
While the jersey fabric allowed the dress to fit the body fabulously, the wrap silhouette accentuated the feminine curves and cleverly hid any bulge. As a result, it became a sensation among the modern, working women of the ’70s who felt “proper and sexy” at the same time. That decade saw women of all ages and types embracing femininity and feeling empowered by boldly flaunting the DVF wrap dress to work, parties, and everywhere else.
Legacy of the Iconic DVF Wrap Dress
At present, the wrap dress is synonymous with Diane von Furstenberg, even though she was not the one who invented this archetypal silhouette. During the 1930s, Elsa Schiaparelli, inspired by the design of the aprons, created several wrap dresses, and Charles James made the ‘Taxi dress’ that spiraled around the body. But it was von Furstenberg who made the wrap dress the icon it is today.
After DVF, the dress became a classic, a metaphor for feminism. It inspired other designers like Alexander McQueen, Michael Kors, Proenza Schouler, J.Crew, and more, who followed suit, using the silhouette to create their own version of the dress. As for the brand Diane von Furstenberg, the label keeps reinventing the dress in myriad ways and shapes, keeping its spirit of being relevant strongly alive.
Seven Days, Seven Wrap Dresses from The Luxury Closet
This New Julian wrap dress adorned in pink, black, and white hues will work across seasons—spring, summer, and autumn too.
The beautiful florals on this mini wrap dress make it the perfect piece to take on a holiday.
The denim body and contrasting hem on this Savion wrap dress ensure a casual vibe. Style hack: You can slip it on with a pair of sneakers.
Perfect for any evening occasion when paired with the right accessories, this pleated Stevie Wrap Dress is both fun and chic.
A classic little black dress with a wrap twist! So versatile, this Bella dress will look amazing on just anybody.
Feel fabulous in this maxi wrap dress. It’s a do-it-all piece with a pretty print.
An ideal summer dress to take you from work to play. This New Julian Two wrap dress works with anything from flip-flops to loafers.
Forty-seven years have passed since the iconic DVF wrap dress hit the fashion landscape, and it still receives the same love it did all those years ago. Where major personalities of veneration in the fashion industry like Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent encouraged women empowerment through emancipating, androgynous designs, Diane von Furstenberg advocated feminity by offering women a dress in which they can truly feel like a woman—elegant and sensuous.